Law and order, criminal lawyers
Law and order / Stock photo

Do you know any criminal, criminal lawyers?

No. The above isn’t a typo. Here is something I love about the English language: how pronunciation can change the context and meaning of a sentence.

Last night, I was watching Breaking Bad and I caught a great line from Jesse Pinkman (one the protagonists in the series). When discussing lawyers, he turns to Walter White and says, “If you need a criminal lawyer, you should hire a criminal lawyer, to make sure you get off.” Smart sentence! But difficult to translate into other languages and keep the same humour and meaning because of its context.

Context is very important in the English language, especially in translation. It’s one of the most difficult challenges for translators.

Have you ever come across any similar play on words?